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Perimeter temperature controlled heating and cooling system

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Perimeter temperature controlled heating and cooling system

A temperature controlling system for buildings is provided. A temperature conditioned perimeter cavity extends around the structure and maintains desired temperature within the structure. The perimeter cavity is insulated and provided an energy storing medium of air, fill material or baffles. The perimeter cavity is temperature conditioned by transfer of energy to the perimeter cavity, particularly by exchange from the perimeter foundation below the perimeter cavity, by geothermal exchange from a below ground energy storage container or energy collecting probe, or a combination of both. The system is applied to a grain silo having an insulated first grain silo forming an outside wall member and a smaller circumference second grain silo forming an inside wall with a temperature conditioned perimeter cavity defined between the two grain silos.

Inventor: Henry Lee Hamlin, III
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120291988 - Class: 165 45 (USPTO) - 11/22/12 - Class 165 
Heat Exchange > Geographical

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120291988, Perimeter temperature controlled heating and cooling system.

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The present application claims benefit of priority of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/415,403 filed on Nov. 19, 2010. Also, the present application is a continuation in part of U.S. application Ser. No. 12/074,663 filed Mar. 5, 2008, which claims benefit of priority of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/904,877 filed Mar., 5 2007.


1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a method and system of controlling the temperature of a building by creating a temperature conditioned perimeter around the extents of the structure and, particularly where geothermal exchange or manipulation of the perimeter foundation of a structure is used to condition the perimeter area.

2. Background

In modern times, it is quite rare to find a home that does not have some sort of heating and cooling system. There are many different types of heating and cooling systems, and the mechanism by which heat is transferred to or from the living environment varies considerably. For these homes that utilize these systems, there are many different factors that determine which one to choose and many consumers must compromise due to the limitations of each.

The standard heating or cooling system takes in air (either from outside or re-circulated), conditions it (by raising or lowering the temperature), then forces the air back into the building\'s interior. The interior temperature then adjusts accordingly. To maintain this difference in temperature and improve efficiency of the heating and cooling systems, the standard method is to insulate the building with insulating material inside the walls, as well as sealing any openings (doors, windows, etc.) to let the least amount of air pass through. The air on the inside of the building is then treated in order to raise or lower its temperature. The result is a temperature gradient between the inside and outside of the building.

There are several disadvantages to the standard heating and cooling methods. Efficiency and uniformity of the interior temperature are the primary issues that face building owners. Hot or cool spots within a home or office are very common and, oftentimes, unavoidable without extensive ductwork and/or additional heating/cooling systems. There are many alternatives available to consumers but they bring about other issues, as well. There is especially the need to have a system that is easily maintained and standard enough to be repairable by most heating and cooling system technicians. It\'s not preferable to have a system that would require a specialized technician that would perform maintenance or service work on the system.

Efficiency is most affected by the heating or cooling unit itself and the degree of insulation in the building. Many new heating/cooling units are designed with outstanding efficiency in mind as long as they are properly maintained. The problem is typically not with the unit itself, but with the insulation and the inevitable heat transfer between areas of two highly different temperatures. When properly installed and with high quality parts, a building\'s heating/cooling system can run very efficiently. However, when dealing with large areas or extreme temperatures, it takes a lot of energy to change the temperature even a degree warmer or cooler and it takes a longer time to do so. When temperatures are at their extremes is when utility bills tend to get higher and heating/cooling systems work the least efficiently. At this point, the building owner is faced with high utility bills and, oftentimes, decreased performance of the heating/cooling system.

Geothermal heat pumps are a fairly modern development that have brought forth efforts to harness the energy of the earth to assist in more efficiently heating and cooling homes. At an average depth of around eight feet beneath the earth\'s surface, there exists a layer of earth that, due to thermal inertia of the earth, holds a fairly constant temperature year round. This temperature varies due to location on the earth but, for a particular area, holds fairly constant. Currently, the primary means of employing this constant temperature level has been to operate heat pumps that use this level for heat exchange. In the summer, this level is typically cooler than the surface air temperature and, in the winter, this level is typically warmer than the surface air temperature, thereby increasing efficiency of the heat 3 pump. The main problem with a geothermal heat pump is the digging and work required to properly utilize this constant temperature level. Initial cost is high but the payoff in the following years is quite amazing.

Overall, it is the object of this invention to devise a heating and cooling system that is efficient and provides the most comfortable environment with a stable interior temperature by providing an insulating layer around an entire structure that is also temperature conditioned.



The present invention creates an improved system of climate control over the traditional heating and cooling systems. The invention can be described well by narrowing the field of view to a single roomed building. In a preliminary embodiment, a forced air heating and cooling system is located outside of the building. Essentially, the conditioned air is blown throughout a cavity that encompasses the entire building and can even extend many feet beneath the building. Thus, one objective of the present invention is to maintain the air in this perimeter cavity at a particular temperature. By doing so, the temperature of the interior room space is also maintained at a comfortable level without blowing heated or cooled air into the room itself. Essentially, these air cavities, coupled with other insulating material, work to give the building even more insulating potential and provide a more stable interior temperature.

Another object of the invention is to maintain temperature in the perimeter cavity by transfer of energy from a below ground energy storage container, whereby geothermal energy can be used to control temperature of a room through control of the perimeter.

Another object is the transfer energy to the perimeter cavity using a below ground probe with energy conducting extensions to transfer geothermal energy to control the temperature of the room or perimeter cavity.

Another object is to store energy within the perimeter cavity for a longer period of time and stabilize the temperature therein using a series of baffles built into the space of the perimeter cavity to store energy and slow the dissipation thereof.

Another object is to create a perimeter cavity about a building using a plurality of panels that are attached to the exterior of a building. These panels may be retrofit to an existing building or incorporated into the construction of a new building. These panels may further provide enhanced insulation on their exterior surface to reduce energy transfer from the perimeter cavity to the outside environment.

Yet another object is to manipulate and control the temperature of the perimeter cavity by conditioning the temperature of the foundation material below the perimeter cavity or providing a source of heat below the perimeter cavity that will rise into the perimeter cavity.

These and other objects of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art and should be considered within the scope of the claims that follow.


FIG. 1 is a cut-away view of a perimeter cavity of a single room building with intake and exhaust ducts.

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a single room building with perimeter cavity.

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of a single room building with perimeter cavity in an alternative embodiment of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a schematic illustration of air flow circulation from a conditioned air source to a perimeter cavity in accordance with an aspect of the invention described herein.

FIG. 5 is a cut-away side view of a section of perimeter wall cavity having baffles for management of air flow and temperature within the perimeter wall.

FIG. 6 is a cut-away side plan view of a panelized perimeter wall system adaptable to existing buildings in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 7 is a schematic view of an experimental system for using a below ground energy storage container in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 8 is a side cut-away view of a perimeter wall environmental control system comprising first and second grain bins forming a perimeter cavity between them.

FIG. 9 is a side plan view of a geothermal energy collecting probe for conduit of energy to a temperature controlled perimeter in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 10 is a top sectional view of the probe shown in FIG. 10 along line 10-10.

FIG. 11A is a partial side plan view of a temperature controlled perimeter wall cavity in combination with a foundation with electric heating coil.

FIG. 11B is a partial side plan view of a temperature controlled perimeter wall cavity in combination with a foundation with gas heat.

FIG. 11C is a partial side plan view of a temperature controlled perimeter wall cavity in combination with a foundation with increased upper surface area for heat transfer.

FIG. 11D is a partial side plan view of a temperature controlled perimeter wall cavity in combination with a foundation incorporating a radiant heat source.

FIG. 11E is a partial side plan view of a temperature controlled perimeter wall cavity in combination with a foundation incorporating a combination of a radiant heat source and direct heat source.

FIG. 12 is a partial side plan view of an above ground structure with perimeter wall cavity in combination with a below ground temperature controlled source.



A temperature controlled structure consists of a source of temperature conditioned air, most likely a source of heated air and a source of cooled air, a structure 2 or building as specified, and a system of ductwork which moves air from the source of temperature conditioned air. The source of heated air (above the outside temperature) and cooled air (below the outside temperature) can be of any type, so long as they provide heated and cooled air when necessary. This description will refer to both units collectively as the traditional “heating/cooling system” 100. The abovementioned structure 2 consists of, but is not limited to: insulation material 6 within a perimeter wall 8. The perimeter wall comprises an outer wall member 10, and an inner wall member 12, all of which form the outside perimeter framework of the building. In some instances, there may also be structural joists or studs, though this depends on the building materials and methods.

In one embodiment, the invention uses air flow from a convention heating and cooling system 100 to manage the conditioning of the perimeter cavity 14 and thereby improve heating and cooling of the interior living space 104. FIG. 1 illustrates a single room building 2 showing a system where the building\'s intake duct 92 is located beneath the floor of the building 2, and the building\'s exhaust duct 94 is located above the roof of the building. The perimeter cavity 14 is depicted as being between the layer of insulation 6 and the inner wall member 12.

The cutout overhead view of FIG. 2 shows the single room building 2 with intake ducts 92 that are connected together. The illustration shows air flow inside the perimeter cavity 14 as the air flows out of the opening in the intake ductwork 92 and into the perimeter cavity 14 between the joists and studs 96 present in a large percentage of homes.

The cutout overhead view of FIG. 3 shows the single room building 2 with two exhaust ducts 94 that are connected together. The illustration depicts the air flow inside the perimeter cavity 14 as it flows out of the cavity between the joists and studs 96 and into the opening of the exhaust duct 94.

FIG. 4 illustrates the air flow coming from the outlet 98 of the conditioned air source 100 and traveling through the intake duct 92 to the building 2 and being circulated into the perimeter cavity 14. FIG. 4 also shows the air flow exiting the exhaust duct 94 and said air being returned to the return intake 102 of the conditioned air source 100.

In the embodiments discussed herein, the temperature controlled structure 2 is at least partially heated and cooled by heating and cooling a perimeter cavity 14 about the building formed by the outer wall member 10 and inner wall member 12 and contained between these wall members. The perimeter cavity 14 may also be formed through addition of modular panels to the exterior or interior an existing wall member to create an open space between them.

Wherein, the perimeter cavity 14 includes air filled space or other energy storing space with suitable fill material for receipt of heated/cooled air, gas or conducted energy from a selected source. In addition to providing a perimeter cavity 14 comprised of air-filled cavities, the perimeter cavity is improved to insulate the cavity and reduce the influence of outdoor temperature changes on the temperature of the controlled cavity. In particular, the cavity includes an exterior barrier of insulation 16. Further, the storage of energy within the perimeter cavity 14 is improved to retain energy input therein and improve energy transfer and control of temperature in the interior space. Moreover, the perimeter cavity 14 comprises a fill material 18 or baffles 20 as shown in FIG. 6 for receipt and storage of heat from the energy source. With the combination of both exterior insulation and enhance perimeter energy storage, said perimeter cavity 14 will be well insulated and will store energy efficiently without loss, except to heat or cool the interior room of the structure 2. There is insulating material placed such that it is in direct contact with the inner side of the outer wall and all portions of the inner side of the outer wall except where the outer wall has been removed for some other building component to pass through it.

In one embodiment of the invention, the insulation is of a size which permits there to be a plurality of air cavities through which air can flow freely in the space encompassed between the inner wall members 12, the outer wall members 10, and the insulation. It is also possible to form windows and doors in such a manner that they, too, have inner and outer wall members with air cavities between the wall members. For instance, if one were to build this invention, a window unit might actually consist of two separate double paned windows, between which there is an air cavity and perhaps holes or a screened area along the sides of the windows to permit air flow between the cavities in the windows and the cavities in the walls. The same can also apply to doors and other building components. On at least one side of the building (where the sides are formed by the outer walls), there is a place of some significant area, and not in the location of a joist or a stud, where the outer wall and the insulating material are not present, such that the air cavity is open to the outside of the building. In this location, there is present an air duct that is closed on all sides except where it comes into contact with the perimeters of the open area on the building. Thus, it is designed such that air can flow from the ductwork to the air cavity and the reverse. This ductwork terminates and is closed at one endpoint. At its other endpoint, it is linearly connected to another piece of ductwork which is closed on all sides except its endpoints such that air can flow from the air cavities into the open ductwork then into the closed ductwork. This closed ductwork is then connected by its other endpoint to the outlet on the heating/cooling system, thereby permitting the heating/cooling system to force air out and into the closed ductwork, into the open ductwork attached to the side of the building, then into the air cavities between the inner and outer walls of the building.

In the embodiment described above, the object of the system is to create a stable temperature within the much smaller volume of space within the perimeter cavities. In turn, this will provide an extra degree of insulation beyond that which is capable of insulation made of any solid material. This will have the effect of decreasing reliance on forced air heating or cooling on the occupied or living space inside the building, thus stabilizing the temperature more easily and with less energy.

In addition to air being forced into the perimeter cavities, an embodiment can include a duct located on a different side of the building which returns air to the heating/cooling system. The building intakes the temperature conditioned air via ductwork located underneath the floor and exhausts the treated air from ductwork located above the ceiling. It is also possible to only intake air from inside the wall or only input air into the walls, as opposed to having both an intake and an exhaust. The other ductwork could be located inside the occupied/living space encompassed by the inner walls, much as a traditional heating and air system. This would also help to stabilize the air system inside the building (both in the air cavities and in the occupied/living space). Another embodiment could include multiple sections of ductwork that serve the same purpose, be it exhaust of treated air or intake of treated air. This would ultimately depend on the size of the building, climate, and temperature requirements. Ideally, the exhaust and intake ducts would be located on different sides of the building so as to permit the conditioned air to fully circulate and have the greatest effect. Another possibility would be to include an overflow vent, which would be a vent through the inner wall, such that it would let the conditioned air flow not only between the walls but also into the interior occupied or living space.

Another alternate embodiment would include any of the systems mentioned with a specialized fairly rigid insulating material that would have interlocking sides all around. This would permit one to put the pieces of insulation up and it would connect at each side. Further, the perimeter wall 8 may be created using a retrofitted insulated panel 30 adapted to the exterior or interior of the building\'s wall. Such retrofit panel 30 may be adapted for generic attachment to a variety of building exteriors such as brick, lapboard or concrete. Or, the panels may be specifically designed for retrofit to a particular building market. An embodiment of such retrofit panel 30 is shown in FIG. 7 in which the insulated panel is attached to the exterior wall of the building to provide additional insulation and to create a perimeter cavity 14 on the exterior perimeter of the building. The perimeter cavity 14 is heated or cooled from an energy source such as a below ground container, hot water, or forced air. Specifically engineered insulation on the exterior of the panel 30 will help minimize loss of energy provided to the perimeter cavity 14 from the energy source. The modification of the temperature of the perimeter cavity 14 by the energy source operates on the exterior of the building to maintain the temperature within the building at a more comfortable temperature with less need for forced heating or cooling of the interior space with air conditioning systems. Excess energy or heat from the perimeter cavity 14 may be transferred through a conduit 32 connected from the perimeter cavity to the interior space of the building.

Another alternate embodiment would be to build the perimeter cavity 14 not merely a few inches underneath the structure 2 but to extend the perimeter cavity to at least eight feet beneath the structure. This would allow the perimeter cavity 14 to utilize the constant temperature zone beneath the earth and further maintain a constant temperature within the inner cavity of the walls with less work from the heating/cooling system. One could even take this a step further and not employ a heating/cooling system at all. By creating this massive cavity beneath the structure 2 and permitting its air to flow between zone below and the air within the perimeter cavity 14 of the structure, one could possibly eliminate the heating/cooling system altogether. Fans could be used to provide the air flow between the air cavity beneath the ground and the perimeter cavities between the wall members of the building and they would be much more efficient than using only the traditional heating/cooling systems. It is also possible to incorporate a layer of fill dirt or even a basement directly beneath the building and to have the large air cavity deeper in the earth beneath the building.

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Application #
US 20120291988 A1
Publish Date
Document #
File Date
165 45
Other USPTO Classes
International Class

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